After seven seasons Elementary is coming to a close. Just like so many other series I will learn with not being able to get my seasonal shot of Elementary. With this episode an era ends in which Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu managed a unique spin with their re-telling of the Sherlock Holmes franchise.
And yet there were times Elementary felt like it had outlived its existence. After season 2 the repetitive nature of the show became a problem. Hard-edged stories became fewer while series regulars weren’t regular enough. And so Elementary continued over the years, with some improvements here and there. But never did I disliked the show. The interaction between Sherlock and Joan has always been delight to watch.
That said, it felt like season 6 was going to be its last. And that may have been the plan. It took more than a year and a half for season 7 to see its release and so far it feels like the producers have given it their top effort. Unlike another recent show (cough Game of Thrones).
Season 7 has been true rollercoaster ride. Sherlock returned form exile in London, Joan looks swanky with her new blonde hair. Both remain as fashionable as ever. Op top of that captain Gregson got shot. Sherlock’s father Morland got murdered and Sherlock nearly as well. For those last incidents we have to thank billionaire Owen Reichenbach.
Their Last Bow
This last episode is not without some shocks. The first is the announcement that it is set three years after the incident on the bridge between Sherlock and Reichenbach. Three years is what it took for Reichenbach to be convicted. Though the murder of Sherlock is not amongst the crimes he is sentenced for, as that remained unproven.
The second shock comes when Bell doles out a heafty gut punch on Sherlock when the latter returns to New York. Bell and Gregson knew Sherlock was alive, as Joan had told them. Yet, their anger is very real. I think this scene could have been handled differently. It tried to emulate the anger Dr. Watson bestowed on Sherlock in the BBC series.
After the initial reunion between the core cast the episode focuses on what brought Sherlock back from hiding. It can’t be Reichenback, as he just got convicted. Moriarty is briefly considered a suspect, but the suggestion is made she would not try to threaten Sherlock as she is busy rebuilding her criminal enterprise.
A shift in focus for Elementary
The mystery is as compulsive to watch as ever. And it comes as a surprise when it is revealed to be agent McNally of the NSA who lured Sherlock out of hiding. The viewer is made to believe this will be Sherlock’s end, but McNally does the unexpected. He offers Sherlock a job. Work for the NSA, use their data to catch criminals. This way Sherlock ensures they cannot commit crimes like they did with Owen Reichenbach. The issue remains up in the air as the episode shifts its focus on the relationship between Joan and Sherlock.
From Gregson Sherlock learns that Joan has cancer. Her fate remains uncertain and Sherlock does his best to not form a close bond with her. He admits to her that in his exile he relapsed on heroine. Now that Joan has an adopted son he believes he should not be around them. In an emotional scene Sherlock eventually promises he will stay.
A year later Sherlock attends to a funeral. It is not Joan’s – a clever piece of misdirection. Instead it is Moriarty’s funeral. Yet this is also misdirection as Sherlock thinks she has faked her death with Joan refusing to aid him in digging up the coffin at a later time. The episode ends with Joan being declared cancer free. They visit now captain Bell at the precinct with the request to once again become consultants. Joan fears they will be refused, but Sherlock thinks this is unlikely and suggests they still have each other.
The series finale of Elementary felt very satisfactory. A romantic relationship between Joan and Sherlock has long been hoped for by fans and this resolution does not compromise their professional work. The mystery of the week was also unusual, perhaps the resolution was slightly underwhelming. Fans might have wanted to see a showdown between Sherlock and Moriarty but she has bene absent from the series for so long that was never going to happen.
Both characters have made an incredible story arc since the first season. Sherlock was little more than hyper-active drug addict who used prostitutes not unlike the character form House. Joan was a failed doctor who needed to find a new profession. With New York as a backdrop they managed to find what they needed.